In what has become a highly controversial issue in the past few days at South By Southwest (SXSW) Music and Interactive Media Conference, BBH, an Advertising Agency, has decided to create mobile hotspots centered around homeless people. “Homeless Hotspots” are being found all around Austin, TX. Just look for the homeless person wearing a shirt indicating they are a 4G Hotspot.
I don’t really know how I feel about this. At first I thought, “Cool, how creative! Empowering homeless people and compensating them for their services.” Then I realized the hotspots were free of use with a $2 suggested donation. These people are doing a job, and when you do a job, you NEED TO BE COMPENSATED (unless it’s an “internship”). This has led me to believe the ad agency who created this idea sees these people as no more than a sign which states “Free Wi-Fi” with a donation box attached to it, “in a more digital manner”. I’m a huge advocate of empowering and educating the less fortunate, but until someone proves that is actually happening, they are completely exploiting a marginalized community. Well, I guess it’s not the first time.